5 Tips for Better SEO

5 Tips for Better SEO

If a website with great content is created in a forest full of competing URLs, will anyone find it in their online search results?  Not if it hasn’t employed good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.  For many start-ups and up-and-coming sites, the key to generating eyeballs (and revenue) is to garner top placement in key search engines like Google and Bing. Here are five of the best SEO tips today, which should help anyone achieve better results for their website and improve online rankings.

Expert SEO Tip #1: Do Your Research

Start with keywords, and use tools from sites like Google Adwords, Google Insights for Search or Scribe SEO to find keywords which will work for your site.  Incorporate these into your content, wherever you can, as well as into back-end items like tags and meta-tags.  Once your site is live, make sure you use an analytics or tracking tool to see which pages are most popular, the paths visitors are taking, and what sorts of search results are bringing visitors to your sites.  Use this information to mold your site into a way in which even more browsers will find their way to you.

Don’t Forget the Content

Although it may seem obvious, you need to remember to create fresh, new and original content regularly so your website isn’t static, and search engines won’t push you down their lists.  If you’re posting things alone, enlist a friend or family member to proofread and help eliminate spelling mistakes, as those can also be detrimental to your SEO ranking.  And from time to time, visit your site as if you’re a user who’s never been there before, and explore links like they might to make sure your site makes sense and that nothing is broken. 

Link it Up

Find ways wherever you can to get links to your site in other places.  This doesn’t mean you have to become a comment spammer, but you can find relevant articles or discussions to participate in which can provide useful links to information.  If you find others in your field, ask if you can do a guest blog post, and invite others to do the same as reciprocation.  You’ll also want to make sure to share links on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and Google Plus whenever you can, as these can definitely impact search results, especially if others begin sharing them, too.

Make Sharing Easy

Since links from other sources are so important to how your site is viewed by search engine, so make sure to include easy ways to allow others to share your content quickly and easily over social networks.  Services like ShareThis, AddThis or AddToAny make it easy to incorporate the code for their widgets into your html.   You want readers to be able to easily share links to your site with no hassle, so it’s a no-brainer from that standpoint as well to make sharing links as easy as possible.

Use Headers, Tags and Descriptions Wisely

Don’t neglect the chance to provide headers, summaries, tags and meta-tags to all of your site’s pages.  If you use a back-end content management system such as WordPress, there are easy plug-ins (i.e. All-In-One SEO Pack) to help create customized tags on every page, which is important because search engines don’t like to see every page have the same ones.  Incorporate your research and focus on tags and keywords that are in your content that can draw visitors to your site.

5 eReaders Every Book Lover Should Own

5 eReaders Every Book Lover Should Own

Although the line between full-fledged tablet PC and eReader is becoming more and more blurry, vacationers, business travelers and students alike continue to flock to handheld devices which primarily focus on providing vast libraries of books at the touch of a fingertip, but provide just enough individual features to justify the purchase.  Here are the 5 best eReaders and eBook-playing gadgets for anyone on the go. Needless to say, all make great personal purchases or gift-giving options.

Amazon Kindle Fire  

With a full-color display and Amazon’s dedicated app store offering millions of entertainment options like TV shows, music and more, the Amazon Kindle Fire is sort of a souped-up eReader or stripped-down tablet, depending on how you want to look at it.  The 7” touchscreen is not only bigger than other eReaders, but also in full-color.  The Kindle Fire connects easily to Wi-Fi networks to provide for web browsing via Amazon’s Silk browser, and also offers enhanced features for Amazon Prime members, offering free books and streaming capabilities from select items from Amazon’s vast catalog. Priced at just under $200, the Kindle Fire quickly became the second-most popular tablet device (after iPad) when it debuted in 2011. 

Sony Reader

Sony’s dedicated eReader, the Sony Reader, is a lightweight and elegant device, designed to maximize battery life while providing crystal clear and paper-like displays.  Priced at $129, it’s less expensive than the Kindle Fire, and is a great choice for travelers who need to unplug for a bit – a single battery-charge with the wireless turned off can last up to five weeks.  The Sony Reader also boasts unprecedented and simple access to borrowing eBooks from public libraries, it’s as simple as pushing the public library icon.

Nook with GlowLight

Barnes & Noble’s Nook with GlowLight focuses on getting the light just right, no matter what the light situation.  The soft, glowing light is optimized for low-light situations and designed so that it’s just bright enough for the reader to see, but not so bright as to distract others.  Switching brightness is as simple as adjusting an onscreen slider and fonts can easily be made bigger and smaller, depending on your preference. The Nook also comes with built-in social features that allow you to easily connect with other Nook-using friends over Facebook to compare and recommend books you’ve read.  The Nook retails for $139 and boasts a comfortable exterior and a battery that can last up to a month on a single charge.

Kobo eReader Touch

The Kobo eReader Touch is designed to provide an eReader that is simple and comfortable to use.  Taking a cue from Apple’s iPad, the eReader Touch has one physical “home” button and uses the touchscreen for all other user input.  You can spot a Kobo eReader Touch by its distinctive soft-quilted back, which makes it comfortable to hold with one hand or set in your lap.  For non-English speakers, the Kobo is a great choice as the first eReader device to be available in multiple languages.  It’s a great value too, with a $99.99 price tag that makes it the most cost-effective choice on the market.  And if that’s not inexpensive enough, you can buy a Kobo eReader Touch for $79.99 that pushes ads or offers to you in exchange for the lower price.

Apple iPad

Although the iPad is much more than just an eReader, its overwhelming popularity, sleek design and high-resolution Retina display make it great for taking books on the go.  Sure, it’s got a high-resolution camera, hundreds of thousands of apps, and even the ability to take HD-quality videos, but as an eReader you can download apps from all the other competitive eReaders and enjoy access to their library books straight from you iPad.  If cost is no object and you have an iPad anyway, you’ll probably want to consider using it to access the eReader libraries of all the other products we mentioned, whether by an official app or through other apps that let you access your libraries for devices like the Sony Reader via the iPad.

Protect Your Online Reputation

Protect Your Online Reputation

Have you Googled yourself lately? It’s entirely possible you’re not doing it often enough, as a 2010 stat showed that less than 50% of folks did regularly. But chances are you’ve conducted an online search on someone else. Whether it’s a prospective employee, someone you just met or a potential business partner, looking up information on the Internet is one of the first steps many people take when trying to learn more about others.

It’s imperative you stay on top of your digital image and learn how to protect your online reputation. According to a recent infographic from KBSD Digital Marketing, 78% of recruiters check search engines on potential employees, and half of recruiters and HR professionals refer to personal websites when deciding whether or not to hire you. They’re looking at photos, trying to find unflattering or incriminating information.

So while it’s simple to suggest not to ever put any content out there that may offend others, the reality is that many of use enjoy and utilize social networks because people are sharing personal information about their thoughts and happenings.   Here are some basic tips to help you control your image while still maintaining a positive online presence, thereby ultimately protecting your online reputation:

Always Consider Your Online Footprint: Consider that everything you post or any picture that appears of you online is available for the broad public. There are many who refuse to ever have a photo taken of them holding an alcoholic drink for example. Although you can lock down Facebook privacy settings, if you’re on Twitter, be aware that anything you tweet is easily searchable, so be leery of taking any potentially controversially viewpoints or stands.

Focus on Positive Communications: Take steps to create your own brand by highlighting activities and thought leadership in areas you want to be associated with.  If you want people to see you as someone who appreciates the arts, ask questions about or post information from art gallery openings or symphony concerts. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can change others’ perceptions of you by focusing your observations and sharing on specific areas of interest.

Control Your Information: Take advantage of privacy settings wherever you can. Don’t trust Facebook, Google or any other social network or photo sharing service to have default settings exactly how you want them. If you will be posting information or sharing photos that you would never want the public at large or future employers to see, make sure to restrict access to your accounts and content.

Know What’s Out There: Google yourself, check what’s going on.  Pretend you are someone who knows nothing about you and see what kind of info it leads to. See what’s on the first few pages of search results, make sure to see what images are out there associated with a search for your name. And if you’re an individual or a small business who finds information online that you’d rather wasn’t there, consider using one of these services to help manage your online reputation:

Reputation.com offer free scans to help you find information online, with an option to subscribe for $100 a year to help them keep your reputation clean. For those that do have information they want to remove, prices to get that info removed or changed from Reputation.com will enter the thousands of dollars range, with it being even more expensive if you have a common name.

BrandYourself helps make entries you want to highlight more visible in search results than those you may want removed. As an example, the company shows how you can boost visibility for your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles (with content you control) to appear before potentially negative information, such as divorce settlement records. Brand Yourself attempts to make the process much simpler and user-based than Reputation.com, offering “do-it-yourself” tips and free profiling and alerts. The free version of the platform will help optimize up to three links and track the first page of Google search results for your name. For $10 per month, you can boost to unlimited links and track the first 10 pages of results.

Integrity Defenders helps individuals or businesses remove negative comments or content from the first page of search results of the most popular search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo1 for a little more than $600, and even offers to push the content off the first and second pages for twice that price.